After 80 minutes of hard, physical play Tuesday night, Greenbrier ensured there would be a new boys soccer state champion in 2012.
Facing defending champion Chattahoochee, the Wolfpack scored late in the first half and added an insurance goal late in the game en route to a 2-0 win.
The Wolfpack (18-1) will be at home Friday night against Tucker in the third round of Class AAAA boys soccer state tournament.
“Facing the defending state champions, anytime you knock them out is a good win,” said Greenbrier coach Chip Warren, who earlier in the day was named the 2012 Region 2-AAAA boys soccer coach of the year.
The Cougars (12-7-1) came out in a defensive posture, rarely attempting runs down the field. While play stayed in the Cougars’ end, it took until the 7:22 mark for the Wolfpack to break through. Reed Norton, the 2012 Region 2-AAAA boys soccer player of the year, placed the ball in front of the net on a free kick, and Michael Harris finished off the play with a running header into the net.
“Me and Reed were able to make a connection, I got my head on it and put it in,” Harris said.
Down a goal, the Cougars came out aggressively in the second half. With 12 minutes to play, the Cougars had their best opportunities to score, but Wolfpack goalkeeper Zack Maxwell was equal to the task. He first stopped a free kick with a diving save to his right, knocking the ball past the right post, then stopped the Cougars in front on the ensuing corner kick.
“We knew he was capable of that, that’s why he’s back there,” Warren said of his keeper.
With 8:31 to play, Norton launched another free kick at the goalie. The rebound came to Harris at the right side of the net and he was able to back heel it to Drew Fransoso who easily put it away.
“We usually don’t like offensive attacks off free kicks,” Norton said. “After the first few times we saw the goalie coming out and we were able to attack.”